Essential Reads

Essential Reads is your one-stop source for the top stories of the day as reported by your favorite Washington Week panelists. It's a simple way to save time and stay informed about the news you need to know. Check it out every day!

May 24, 2012

  • Romney’s Core

    By Major Garrett, National Journal

    Mitt Romney, it turns out, has a core after all. You may remember that for months—dating back to October—President Obama’s most persistent criticism of Romney has been that he has no core. Chief strategist David Axelrod said it first, followed by senior White House adviser and 2008 Obama campaign manager David Plouffe.

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  • When a Boy Found a Familiar Feel in a Pat of the Head of State

    By Jackie Calmes, New York Times

    For decades at the White House, photographs of the president at work and at play have hung throughout the West Wing, and each print soon gives way to a more recent shot. But one picture of President Obama remains after three years.

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  • One Thing Certain as Egyptians Vote for President: The Outcome Will be a Surprise

    By Nancy A. Youssef and Hannah Allam, McClatchy Newspapers

    In an historic first, Egyptians voted Wednesday for their next president, choosing from an array of competing candidates whose wildly divergent campaign platforms pledged everything from revolutionary, religion-based change to a return to the stability of the Hosni Mubarak-era, which came to an end with Mubarak’s ouster last year.

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May 23, 2012

  • CBO: Taxmageddon Would Throw U.S. Back into Recession

    By Lori Montgomery, Washington Post

    Tax hikes and spending cuts set to take effect in January would suck $607 billion out of the economy next year, plunging the nation at least briefly back into recession, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said Tuesday. Unless lawmakers act, the economy is likely to contract in the first half of 2013 at an annualized rate of 1.3 percent, the CBO said, before returning to 2.3 percent growth later in the year.

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    (CNN, File Photo)

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  • Poll: Obama, Romney in Dead Heat on Economy

    By Jon Cohen and Dan Balz, Washington Post

    After months of aggressive campaigning on jobs and the economy, President Obama and Mitt Romney, his likely Republican challenger, are locked in a dead heat over who could fix the problem foremost on voters’ minds, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

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  • Obama Targets Romney Economics in Bain Attacks

    With Julianna Goldman, Bloomberg News

    Bloomberg's Julianna Goldman reports that President Barack Obama cast his race against Republican Mitt Romney as a contest against a private-equity executive whose goal was maximizing profits, while the president’s job is to “figure out how everybody in the country has a fair shot.”

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  • Shafik? Aboul Fotouh? Mosri? Who Knows? Egyptian Outcome Really is Uncertain

    By Nancy A. Youssef and Amina Ismail, McClatchy Newspapers

    Egypt has experienced many historic moments since Hosni Mubarak was toppled from the presidency 446 days ago, but Wednesday marks a true first – the first presidential election in Egypt’s history where voters don’t already know who the winner will be before they cast their ballots.

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  • In One Corner, a Champion of Government. In the Other, Its Foe.

    By John Harwood, New York Times

    The currency of political persuasion is emotion — and the way President Obama and Mitt Romney are spending it crystallizes their starkly contrasting appeals. An Obama campaign video shows the president’s national political director, Katherine Archuleta, tearfully crediting Mr. Obama with having saved her daughter’s life. She portrays the president as a hero of government whose health care law assures her daughter, a cancer survivor, insurance coverage forever.

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May 22, 2012

  • Why Obama Is Doubling Down on Bain Capital Attacks Against Romney

    By Beth Reinhard, National Journal

    Why is President Obama’s reelection campaign doubling down on its attacks on Mitt Romney’s business record at Bain Capital, despite blowback from some supporters? Because they might work. While many voters recall an image of "hope" and "change" from Obama’s successful 2008 campaign, he ran as many negative ads as GOP Sen. John McCain of Arizona—and sometimes more. The message in those 2008 ads wasn’t so different from the anti-Romney theme today: The Republican nominee favors the wealthy at the expense of the struggling middle class. Voters bought it.

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    Presumptive Presidential nominees Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama (CNN)

  • Is GOP Stalling on Economy to Hurt Obama?

    By Charles Babington, Associated Press

    Are Republican lawmakers deliberately stalling the economic recovery to hurt President Obama's reelection chances? Some top Democrats say yes, pointing to GOP stances on the debt limit and other issues, which they say are causing unnecessary economic anxiety and retarding growth. The latest Democratic complaint came after House Speaker John A. Boehner said last week that when Congress raises the nation's borrowing cap in early 2013, he will again insist on big spending cuts to offset the increase. Boehner (R., Ohio) continues to reject higher tax rates, which Democrats demand be imposed on the wealthy.

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  • Yemen Suicide Bombing Death Toll Nears 100 on Eve of Holiday: Officials

    With Martha Raddatz, ABC News

    An al Qaeda affiliate has claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing that killed at least 90 soldiers and injured hundreds more in Yemen's capital city today, on the eve of the nation's unification holiday.

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  • Cory Booker’s Real Mistake

    By John Dickerson, Slate

    Cory Booker is a famous man of action. The mayor of Newark shovels walkways in heavy snowstorms. Recently, he rushed into a burning building to save a woman. Sunday night he was at it again, this time working fast to remove his foot from his mouth. On Sunday morning’s Meet the Press, Booker described President Obama's recent campaigns ads attacking Mitt Romney as "nauseating," comparing them to the foiled $10 million plan to remind voters that Obama was a longtime parishioner of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

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  • Year After Tornado, Obama Salutes Joplin’s Power to Heal and Grow

    By Peter Baker, New York Times

    The clock at Joplin High School stopped a year ago at 5:40 p.m. The class of 2011 had just graduated, and students, parents and teachers were heading home when a powerful tornado ripped through town, destroying the school, much of the city and the lives of so many on a day that was supposed to be a celebration.

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May 21, 2012

  • Charting Obama’s Journey to a Shift on Afghanistan

    By David E. Sanger, New York Times

    It was just one brief exchange about Afghanistan with an aide late in 2009, but it suggests how President Obama’s thinking about what he once called “a war of necessity” began to radically change less than a year after he took up residency in the White House.

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  • European Woes Increase G-8 Summit Tension

    With Julianna Goldman, Bloomberg News

    Bloomberg's Julianna Goldman reports that President Obama pushed for a Euro zone growth package as leaders of the Group of Eight nations urged Greece to stay in the euro area, even as an increasingly isolated Germany said Europe can’t spend its way out of the debt crisis.

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  • Supply Lines Cast Shadow at NATO Meeting on Afghan War

    By Helene Cooper and Matthew Rosenberg, New York Times

    President Obama was struggling to balance the United States’ relationship with two crucial but difficult allies on Sunday, after a deal to reopen supply lines through Pakistan to Afghanistan fell apart just as Mr. Obama began talks on ending the NATO alliance’s combat role in the Afghan war.

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    President Obama speaks at a NATO summit in Chicago with British Prime Minister David Cameron, left (CNN)

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  • Economy v. Favorability in Campaign 2012

    With John Dickerson, CBS News

    CBS News Chief White House Correspondent Norah O'Donnell and CBS News Political Director John Dickerson on the real issues in Campaign 2012.

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  • G-8 Leaders Endorse Policy of Economic Growth

    By Christi Parsons and Don Lee, Los Angeles Times

    In a significant political victory for President Obama, the leaders of Germany and other European nations endorsed a policy of economic growth over austerity and emphasized that Greece, which is trying to battle its way out of a crippling debt crisis, should remain in the Eurozone. Meeting on the cloistered grounds of the presidential retreat here, the leaders of the Group of 8 industrialized nations said in a joint statement that Eurozone economies should work to narrow deficits through "fiscal consolidation" and that each country must decide for itself the best mix of policies for promoting economic recovery.

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May 18, 2012

  • Europe's Fate, and Obama's, May Ride on G8

    By Alexis Simendinger, RealClearPolitics

    President Obama has a weekend challenge ahead of him: Can he persuade European leaders gathered in the Maryland woods outside Washington, D.C., to adopt the U.S. fiscal example of short-term bailouts, government stimulus and long-range plans for belt-tightening in order to promote growth and stave off a fiscal meltdown in the Eurozone?

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  • Mitt Romney Distances Himself from Racially Fueled Proposal to Attack Obama

    By Karen Tumulty and Rosalind S. Helderman, Washington Post

    Mitt Romney wants to talk about the economy. But his ostensible allies keep interrupting him, and his own party is threatening to drown him out. A reality of modern campaigning is that any candidate — even one as buttoned-down and disciplined as Romney — has to contend with stronger political crosswinds than in the past.

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